Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Deed is Done!

Thursday, February 28, 2011

The manuscript for my long-awaited book, the Fine Art of Crochet - Innovative Works from 20 Contemporary Artists, was submitted to the publisher today! It is an exhilarating feeling to have it be finally on the path to publication. I expect it to be done by June 2013 and I hope to be doing some book signings at that time. The book contains interviews of 20 of the most intriguing artists I could find with lavish photographs of their work. You'll have to wait until the book is finally published to find out who is inside! I am developing a website that will be dedicated to the book and also to the art of crochet in general. To follow my book's  progress, check

Tomorrow starts the month-long celebration of crochet: National Crochet Month sponsored by the Crochet Guild of America. Back in 1999, Pam Oddi and I thought it would be great to have a week of celebration to bring attention to crochet and to the guild. It has grown in popularity and is now a month long. Many groups and organizations have jumped on the bandwagon and offer their own activities. Over at Crochetville this year they are celebrating with a Tour Through Crochet Country. It's a blog tour of crochet designers and I will be one of the participants.  I chose to wait until the very end, so March 31 is the day to join the tour at my blog. I'll remind you when it gets a little closer and I'll have some surprises in store. Meanwhile, if you want to tour other blogs during the month-long celebration, stop by here for instructions.

There's much to share today...I submitted proposals and was accepted as a teacher at the 2013 Chain Link Crochet Conference sponsored by The Crochet Guild of America. I'll be teaching a full load of five classes: Bead Crochet Primer: A Scissor Fob

Tapestry Bead Crochet-and this features a specially designed badge for the 20th Anniversary of CGOA (2014)

Crocheting with Cabochons

Wire Wonders: Crochet with Wire

Cover Your World in Crochet: Start with Rocks

Also known as the Knit & Crochet Show, it will take place in Indianapolis, Indiana July 17-21.
It's good to have the show back in the Midwest because the last time was 2010 in Minneapolis. Do we consider Minneapolis the Midwest? I think it is more like the frozen north! I look forward to seeing many of you in my classes!

I'm not lucky at contests and I never buy a lottery ticket, but last week I hit the jackpot over on Ravelry at the Bead Crochet Exchange. I won the 2012 contest because my bead crochet bangle bracelet collection got the most "hearts" of all the members of the group. the moderators KnotChaCha and anewyarn123 generously provided some wonderful prizes. I'll now be even more decked out in beads than usual from Sharon's finished works of art and I'll be staying out of trouble as I work on the bead-crochet patterns from Linda! Thank you ladies; I'm thrilled.

Check back here next week..I'll be talking about how the Northern Illinois chapter of  CGOA chapter is celebrating National Crochet Month.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Health & Happiness

Monday, February 18, 2013

It feels good to be back in the groove of blogging every Monday. I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for my special surprise project that I will announce on March 1. Today I felt like I have it under control with even some time to spare to spend on artistic things and blogging! From the time I worked at the local hospital in the Adult Day Center as an activity specialist with elder dementia patients, I have wanted to write about the healthful benefits of crochet. I ran a weekly crochet group there and it was amazing to see the ladies bring back their crochet skills from the depths of their minds and enjoy doing it. They may have needed to be reminded each week that they could crochet, but put that hook in their hand and off they went! One lady in particular was so interesting. For a few weeks, I would get her started with the chain each week and as I was helping others, she would begin to put all her loops on the hook. Then she would ask me what to do next. I explained single crochet over and over to her until finally one day, it dawned on me that she must have done a lot of Tunisian crochet in her life and that is the skill she remembers. Understanding that, finally, I could encourage her to happily do what she was comfortable with: Tunisian crochet. I was also called upon by the physical therapy department to assist the therapist with a woman who had had a stroke and wanted to re-learn to crochet, a hobby she loved. We had purchased the Kroh's Crochet Aid for my department and it worked very well for this patient. It holds the yarn for anyone without the use of one hand and is a wonderful craft tool for people who have arthritis or MS. See more details on this product as My boss at the time encouraged me to write and article for a nursing magazine about crochet and its health benefits. I guess I was too busy at the time or didn't feel like I had enough scientific research to pull it off.
Kroh's Crochet Aid

Now, however, I feel like I have come full circle. Last week I started a new volunteer position which I created at the same hospital where I worked: Cancer and Crochet Support Group. It's a volunteer job and I will be guiding them on a crochet journey every other week. I was very pleased with our first session as the ladies (men are welcome) were all so positive and excited to be either learning crochet for the first time or just having someone to share their crochet time with. I had a range of skill levels from novice to experienced and I look forward to seeing where we go with this and how they want to use crochet to help them relax, enjoy and get their minds on to something besides cancer.

On the personal front, we had an enjoyable weekend with just the right mix of relaxation and activity. On Saturday we enjoyed a Dim Sum brunch in Chinatown. Dim Sum is the Chinese version of Spanish Tapas and it means "touch the heart" according to our dear friend and hostess, Jennet, along with her husband, Owais. My favorite part besides the spicy beef, pot stickers, shrimp with caramelized walnuts, sauteed spinach, Chinese noodles and sesame balls, was the glass "Lazy Susan" which properly filled a table that seated twenty people! On Sunday, we went to our local library (our favorite place for free entertainment and intellectual stimulation) to hear Songs from the heart performed by Peter Oprisko and his amazing piano accompanist. He had a lovely mellow voice and sang mostly songs requested by the audience. Many of the songs had "heart" in the title or were about love; very fitting for the Valentines Day week. This combo does 300 shows per year and that is a lot of singing!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Back in the Blogosphere

Friday February 8, 2013 I've just been so incredibly busy writing about crochet since the new year started that I didn't have any extra time or cro-thoughts to put here for fear of duplication! I've been doing double duty over at Talking Crochet eNewsletter since back in November. We now have chosen an associate editor who will be sharing the job with me. I'm excited to be introducing her in the issue that goes live on February 26. So, you'll have to wait until then to find out who she is. Never fear...I've been totally immersed in crochet as usual. I've been concentrating on working on some art pieces and also covering rocks like crazy. I've just not taken the time to write about it. I also plan to celebrate National Crochet Month (March) by announcing a very special project I have been working on for quite some time. I love surprises!
"Take-Out:" Crochet-covered river rocks. Why do I call this "take-out"? I spied these lovely river rocks in my friend's garage and she was so happy I liked them because they were just residing in a bucket and taking up space. She let me pick out a few and sent them home with me in this take-out box. So, the name stick in my head and I designed them to figuratively, not literally, convey the idea of food. Can you guess what food I am taking out? At this moment we are on vacation in Albuquerque, NM. It is quite unlike any vacations we've taken to Mexico over the last eight years. We wanted to go somewhere warm and thought NM would give us a little taste of the Mexico we so enjoy. Well, New Mexico is not so very warm we found out, but we did spend the first three days in Phoenix which is delightfully warm Also, unlike other vacations, we've spent some time with cousins. My cousin Sherry lives in Phoenix and we went to college together. She's an interior designer and I had looked forward to seeing the Phoenix "patio home" she refurbished and moved into with her husband four years ago. It is always a delight to see Sherry's design talents. If you live in or near Phoenix, Sherry is the designer to go to: Sherry has also just created a new website. where you can get all sorts of good advice on quality materials when considering a re-construction or re-modeling project. We walked to the Wrigley Mansion and had a look inside and we enjoyed lunch on the patio by the firepit of the Biltmore Hotel which we walked to as well.We walked quite a bit actually and had some great coffee and a tasty veggie drink at Dr. Weil's restaurant. We enjoyed the Super Bowl at Sherry and Doug's and her nachos were the hightlight. Or was it the visit from their son and daughter-in-law with their two darling girls, Katherine, age 5 and Sassy, age 2.
Precious Metals Rock: a little giftie rock I made for Sherry. It's the first time I added wire crochet to my rocks.
Brunch with Sherry's mom, Edith. Sherry and I are actually 2nd cousins and our mothers were cousins.
Doug & Sherry
At the Wrigley Mansion, looking down on Phoenix. Alan's cousin, Doris Ann, lives in Phoenix also. We had a delightful lunch with her at a great Mexican restaurant, Blanco. It had been some 30 years since we'd seen her, so there was some catching up to do.
We took in an fine art fair with Sherry and Doug. No pictures from inside, but this cactus was amazing!
When we moved on to Albuquerque, we were greeted by Alan's other cousin and Doris Ann's brother, J.E. and his charming wife, Helen. They've been such gracious hosts and had us to their house for a delicious New Mexican dinner and have also shown us around, given us tips and taken us to the Indian Cultural Museum. Helen's cheesecake with an oatmeal crust beats any I have ever had!
Inside a gallery, the light coming in and through this vase was a photo opp I couldn't pass up!
We took the Rail Rider on a day trip to Santa Fe
From the desolate landscape of Indian Territory between Albuquerque and Santa Fe to the feast of color for the eyes on Canyon Road in Santa Fe!
Jane Sauer's gallery on Canyon Rd. was a highlight.
Unusual architecture: note the mailbox imbedded in the wall!
Back in Albuquerque, we had a hot-air balloon sighting while having our morning coffee outside.
The Aquarium in Albuquerque
Old Town, Albuquerque